The beirutization of baghdad

Another car bombing in iraq; shiite leader proclaims own government

Cia agents, representatives of the u.S. Administration and members of the iraqi governing council are among the guests at the baghdad hotel in the center of the iraqi capital. Yesterday, sunday, a car bomb exploded there. At least six people were killed in the attack, and more than 30 were injured, some seriously. Among the lightly injured is a member of the iraqi governing council (igc).

The beirutization of baghdad

Six weeks ago, the police stopped an assassin with a car bomb in the same place, it is reported. Now there is speculation as to whom yesterday’s attack was aimed at: american intelligence, representatives of the bremen administration, or iraqi governing council members – last month aqila al-hashimi, incidentally the only minister from the governing council who was already in saddam hussein’s cabinet, succumbed to an attack – or all of them together.

Certainly, the young shiite leader muqtada as-sadr and his followers are not the only iraqis who lump together u.S. Occupiers and members of the governing council; but as-sadr makes no secret of his implacable opposition to the u.S. Administration of iraq: his opposition is loud, vehement, and as nuanced as a blow with a hammer. For him it is clear: if you are a muslim, you must not cooperate with the americans (cf. The punk among iraqi shiite leaders). The iraqi governing council (igc) is a puppet government for him and therefore belongs to the enemy camp. So far, however, he has not been taken too seriously by the americans, loosely based on the motto "barking dogs do not bark". It is possible that this will change in the near future.

If he wants to make stupid statements, that is one thing. But when it directly challenges law and order, we have to react. And the iraqi police, i know, will want to react

anonymous official of the allied forces in the new york times

No alarm yet, then, but a clear threat in the direction of the popular shiite leader, who in his last friday sermon called for a government of his own in iraq with "to some ministries" proclaimed and sent a few hundred protesters to the streets of. What the u.S. Authorities find less disturbing, however, than as-sadr’s domestic power in "sadr city", named after muqtada’s uncle, a highly respected iraqi shiite cleric – probably assassinated by saddam’s henchmen.

Among the 4 million residents of baghdad’s shiite slum, muqtada has proclaimed his rude adherence. There have been frequent bloody attacks and battles between sadr militias and u.S. Soldiers in recent times. On thursday, two american soldiers died in a skirmish between suspected members of as-sadr’s al-mahdi army and u.S. Soldiers. Hours earlier, an attack on a police station in sadr city killed nine people.

According to al-jazeera, the location of the attacks could be a clear sign that shiite muslims are abandoning their restrained, non-aggressive stance against the occupying forces:

It cannot be said that all shiites are now rising up against the americans; but the residents of as-sadr city – who are influenced by the islamic cleric muqtada as-sadr – are very angry with the occupying forces. They are very poor people and the effects of the occupation are hitting them particularly hard. So far, the americans have made rough efforts not to provoke the shiites, but things may well fall apart now

akhmed shuruf, al-jazeera

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